There There

There There


Tommy Orange

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There There: Part IV: Dene Oxendene (3) Summary & Analysis

At the powwow, Dene is in the makeshift storytelling booth he’s set up on the field, recording his own stoic face with the camera his uncle Lucas left behind when he died. He wants to document his own “unflinching stare into the void,” a “realness” he believes Lucas would have appreciated. When he’s done, he switches the camera off, sets it up on a tripod, and points it at the stool where visitors to the booth will sit to tell their stories. He’s planning on asking everyone who comes in what the powwow means to them—and what being Indian means, more largely—even though he doesn’t need any more stories for his project. 
Dene—the man who has dedicated so much of his life to helping others share their stories—has nothing to say himself. The only thing he can manage, after bearing the weight of so many painful and traumatic stories, is a knowing stare that attempts to sum up the strife he’s witnessed, and the fact that any response would be insufficient.
Cultural Identity vs. Personal Identity Theme Icon
Storytelling Theme Icon
Interconnectedness, Coincidence, and Chance Theme Icon
Generational Trauma Theme Icon